SAN FRANCISCO—Memory chip heavyweights Micon Technology Inc. and SK Hynix Inc. were among five firms that submitted bids to acquire a a minority stake in Toshiba Corp.’s chip unit, according to reports. Other bidders reportedly include U.S. investment firm Bain Capital and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the giant Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer that operates under the trade name Foxconn.
Toshiba (Tokyo) would prefer to sell the roughly 20 percent stake it is offering in its semiconductor business to a private equity bidder rather than taking on investment from rival chip firms, the Reuters news service reported Tuesday (Feb. 7).
It was widely reported Tuesday that Hynix acknowledged that it submitted a bid worth about $2.6 billion. Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reported that other bidders include Micon, Western Digital Corp. and U.S. investment firm Bain Capital. A spokesman for Micronic, reached bt EE Times Tuesday, declined to comment.
According to a separate report by Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the giant Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer that operates under the trade name Foxconn, was also among the bidders.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., the world’s No. 1 flash memory chip maker, is not among the companies that submitted a bid to acquire a stake in the Toshiba chip unit, according to the Reuters report, which cites anonymous sources. Nikkei reported that Toshiba has stopped accepting bids for a stake in the chip business as of Feb. 3.
Greg Wong, an analyst with market research firm Forward Insights, said in an interview with EE Times Tuesday that its hard to speculate what bid will prevail. Wong added that Western Digital is kind of a “natural choice” because of an existing partnership with Toshiba on NAND flash. He added that it has been widely speculated that a Chinese company such as Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. might be keen to invest.
”Tsinghua has been in the news quite a bit in the last one or two years, and it’s well known that they are trying to get into NAND,” Wong said. “So that’s one name that has been bandied about.”
Next page: Tsinghua Wants 3D NAND Technology